Your parish needs to focus beyond the pews. Follow these tips to help with Catholic online evangelization. Includes Free Download
It’s no secret that the Catholic Church has been losing members at an alarming rate. The number of people abandoning faith altogether and becoming non-believers (Nones) is astonishing. On top of this, COVID-19 closed the doors of many churches, leaving many faithful parishioners feeling lonely and forsaken in their time of need. It is easy to become discouraged and give up entirely, but there is hope in Catholic evangelization online.
People are still hungry for the faith. They may not be in the pews yet, but with a little time and effort, you can evangelize them and turn them into a believer of Christ.
Here are five ways your parish can evangelize outside of the pews.
Update Your Website & Create a Parish Logo
Next, turn your website into the central hub of everything your church does. Create separate landing pages and signup forms for all parish activities. Parishioners will no longer will have to remember who to email in order to sign up for events, leading to greater participation. Doing this will make Catholic online evangelization much easier going forward.
Define a Social Media Strategy
Another Catholic online evangelization tool is to create a social media strategy. A social media strategy is more than just sharing whatever meme you scroll across while sitting at the dinner table. Social media posts need to do two things:
- Engage your target audience
- Game the algorithm
All social media platforms are slightly different in the way the algorithm serves your posts to users, but they all have one thing in common: they are more likely to serve the top performing posts to more users than the poor performing posts.
Organic posts typically only reach just under 2 percent of your followers. If you want to expand your reach, you need to put time and effort into creating posts that your followers like. Don’t shy away from from using paid social media advertising as well. You’ll be able to reach your exact demographic.
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. I put together a free checklist to get you started. Just head on over to my contact page and fill out the required fields, tell me you want your social media checklist and I’ll email it to you.
*Hint: Limit self-promotional posts to one fifth of all your social media posts in order to boost engagement.*
Produce a Parish Podcast
Almost 40 percent of all Americans listen to podcasts. The great thing about podcasts is that the barrier to entry is low. Podcast hosting is cheap and you don’t need professional audio equipment to start out. To see how I was able to start my podcast, Encounter Mercy with just $350, check out my article How I Started a Successful Catholic Podcast.
The best thing about producing podcasts is that it can create an unlimited amount of social media content for your parish if you add a camera to your setup.
- The audio to your podcast gets uploaded to your hosting platform.
- The video portion of your podcast gets uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.
You can take multiple 1-5 minute clips of the highlights of the episode to upload to Facebook. You then take 30 second to 1 minute clips to upload to Instagram. A single 30 minute podcast now just became enough social media content to post throughout the week.
The most important thing to consider is to create meaningful, engaging content. I recommend keeping your target audience local and focusing on issues and topics that affect them.
*Hint: Choosing to live stream a podcast episode once a month will reach more of your followers on social media due to the algorithms favoring live streaming.*
Better Quality Live Stream Mass
COVID-19 forced many parishes to start live streaming their Masses. Unfortunately, due to lack of time to prepare for shutdowns, many churches used only the tools they had available to them at the time. This meant a lot of low quality video, audio, and lighting.
We all know there is no substitute for in-person Mass, but with the global pandemic still at hand, there are a lot of people who are still uncomfortable going to a physical church. With all of the other live streams throughout the world, it can be difficult to compete for viewers. This means it is important to create an immersive experience in your parish’s live stream. Fortunately, the cost of good equipment doesn’t have to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Here is what you need to get started:
- DSLR or mirrorless camera (with clean HDMI output)
- Good quality microphone
If you want to up your live streaming production quality, click here to check out my article on live stream production quality.
Take Ministries and Parish Groups Online
Every parish has small groups such as Moms groups, Dads groups, Bible studies, etc. Many churches cancelled these small group sessions at the beginning of the pandemic. The ones who started them back up again are seeing less participation than before COVID. In order to bring those people back, offer to do Zoom or Skype sessions for your small groups. This could be 100% online or take a hybrid approach to your in-person meetings so that high risk people aren’t left out. Make sure to offer resources on how to navigate whatever remote meeting platform your parish chooses to use in order to make participation easier to those who aren’t tech savvy.
*Hint: Consider starting a Discord channel for your groups to make it easier to keep in touch with each other throughout the month. Discord also has a video chat feature as well that you can use for your remote meetings.*
I hope these tips help you get started in expanding your online ministry. Keep in mind that none of these ideas will work if you aren’t producing content that is relevant to your target audience. However, if you put in the time and effort to understand what your audience is hungry for, you will see great success implementing the ideas above. If you have questions on how to implement any of these programs in your parish you can Contact Me anytime. I wish you the best!